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Video Game / Mystic Guardian

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Mystic Guardian is an action RPG for mobile devices, created by Korean developers Buff Studio and released in 2017. It is a game developed in five years, with the goal of recapturing the feeling of old-school action RPGs.

It tells the story of the small nation of Latear in it's struggles to resist the invading Garade Empire. At the center of the conflict are two young men, Kainen and Ray, former members of the Shadow Union, an organization of powerful warrior alchemists. You can play as either one of them, and see the story unfold from their point of view. A first playthrough of each of their stories is a fairly linear experience, but the game is advertised to have alternate story paths and endings that can be discovered on subsequent runs.


The game can be downloaded and played for free (with ads), though upon reaching the final chapter, you will be required to upgrade to the "VIP" version if you wish to finish the game. You can also simply purchase the "VIP" version to begin with and play the game start-to-finish, ad-free. Though the game features microtransactions, none of them are remotely necessary or required to finish the game, as there are plenty of weapons and power-ups to be found simply by playing the game normally.


Mystic Guardian features examples of the following tropes:

  • A Child Shall Lead Them: Evan becomes the king of Latear/Ethenia about halfway through the game after Raminez goes missing, taking up leadership of the war effort against the Empire as well as the role of maintaining the barrier.

  • An Ice Person: Ray. Though he also has fire and lightning magic, he seems to prefer ice.

  • Badass Army: The Shadow Union is suggested to have been this in its prime.

  • Balance, Power, Skill, Gimmick: Oddly, it's actually the enemies who fit this trope. All standard non-boss enemies are classified into one of five categories.
    • "Regular" enemies tend to have no noteworthy abilities, but no noteworthy weaknesses either. "Enhanced" enemies are largely the same as "Regular", except that they have a shield that must be broken before you can do much damage to them.
    • "Giant" enemies are big and hit hard, as well as having strong shields, but they're also slow and have big hitboxes.
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    • "Ranged" enemies cannot attack at close range, but as their name suggests, they can attack from afar and will keep their distance, often forcing you to chase them down as they take quick potshots at you.
    • "Summon" enemies are the gimmick. They can't really do much to attack themselves, but as their name suggests, they can summon swarms of other enemies to fight for them.

  • Bag of Sharing: There's only a single inventory that's shared between both protagonists.

  • Bald of Evil: Emperor Garade.

  • Barrier Maiden: The barrier around Latear, created and maintained by Raminez, is the only thing keeping the Empire from launching a full-scale invasion, as it is able to keep living things with hostile intent from entering. Unfortunately, as the Empire has recently discovered, the barrier can't stop things that aren't technically alive...

  • Beam Spam: Many boss death cutscenes involve the heroes invoking this trope. The bosses themselves also love their projectile attacks.

  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: While the game certainly got the "classic action RPG gameplay" part down, the English translation of the story is... not exactly stellar. Thankfully however, all gameplay-related information is perfectly coherent, so you'll have no trouble knowing what all of your equipment and abilities do, and what your quest objectives are. And the story, while filled to the brim with Engrish and bizarre grammar, is not so garbled that you can't understand what's going on.

  • Bullet Hell: The game has elements of this at times. Many bosses love to spam projectile attacks, with the "bullets" often being fired in patterns not unlike some bullet hell games. Some late-game bosses can almost fill the whole screen with projectiles. This can also happen if you're fighting a lot of "Ranged" type normal enemies.

  • Chicken Walker: Some Imperial soldiers (and later Latear's army as well) make use of these. They make an utterly bizarre, cartoony-sounding loud "splat" noise when they attack, for no clear reason.

  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Every story boss gets a death cutscene where Kainen and/or Ray go full ham on it, spamming high-level abilities that they might not have even learned yet, much less have the SP to use that many times.

  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Don't worry too much about dying in the story. If you die, your only punishment is having to watch a short 10-20 second ad before you're revived with full HP to continue right where you left off. In "Raid Mode" though, either Kainen or Ray dying means the end of your run, regardless of how much HP the other hero has.

  • Degraded Boss: The first boss of Kainen's story becomes a common mook in the very next area. The second boss of Kainen's story becomes an Elite Mook in the final area of his story.

  • Droste Image: One quest in Ray's story has you retrieve a lost pendant for a young boy, which he claims contains "a picture of a picture of [his] family".

  • Dungeon Town: Most of Iberk Village is abandoned and overrun with the Empire's monsters. Only the central area, which serves as your central hub for the first half of Kainen's story, is safe.

  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: There's a boss in Ray's story called "Big Teddy Bear". Okay then. Made less amusing by the fact that it's actually Ray's sister, in the aftermath of the Empire's years of experimenting on her.

  • Fat Bastard: Duke Vitora is quite overweight, and quite evil.

  • Fate Worse than Death: Lord help you if you get captured by the Empire. You might get off lucky and they'll just throw you in prison... or you might get carted off to some lab somewhere to be "enhanced".

  • Flunky Boss: There are a few bosses who will spawn hordes of common mooks as you fight them.

  • For the Evulz: The Empire has the means and the resources to create an army of clone soldiers and monsters artificially, and plenty in the way of tactical and territorial advantages, yet they resort to capturing people and turning them into monsters as well, seemingly just for the sake of being assholes.

  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: Ragnarok, the first boss of Ray's story, will run away every time you deplete a full bar of its health, requiring you to chase it down to finish it off.

  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Ray fights with his hands and feet. A few characters in his story note that it's quite impressive he's able to fight the kinds of enemies he does without a weapon.

  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Kainen, though he also uses guns that he creates with his alchemy abilities.

  • It Amused Me: This is seemingly Duke Vitora's only reason for turning Ray's sister into a monster and making him unwittingly kill her.

  • I Lied: Naturally, the Empire does not keep their end of the bargain to keep Ray's sister safe in exchange for Ray becoming a gladiator at the arena. Duke Vitora seems almost gleeful as he reveals the truth to Ray years later.

  • Ill Girl: Ray's sister, Siona, suffers from an unspecified condition that requires her to be placed in suspended animation inside a machine just to survive.

  • Laughing Mad: Zaoki's dialogue tends to be puntuated by a voice clip of insane laughter.

  • Lazy Backup: The two protagonists travel together for a while in the second half of the story (and in the first chapter of Ray's story), but the one you're not actually playing as will not lift a finger to help unless it's a cutscene.

  • Made a Slave: Early on in his story, Ray gets captured by the Empire and spends a few years of his life as a gladiator slave, fighting to entertain imperial citizens (and provide the Empire with valuable battle data) in exchange for his sister's safety.

  • Magic Knight: Kainen and Ray both qualify as this. It's suggested that the rest of the Shadow Union, and perhaps even alchemists in general, are this as well.

  • Mini-Mecha: Kainen's Ride Armor.

  • More Dakka: You can invoke this by sending Kainen down the "Warrior" class line. The class's abilities primarily revolve around shooting things with lots and lots of guns.

  • Narm Charm: Depending on your view, the poor translation job might not be an entirely bad thing. It can be quite entertaining playing the game to see what kind of garbled Engrish the characters'll spit out next. One of the crowning jewels has to be when Ray threatens to turn Zaoki into a mollusk.

  • Nothing but Skulls: Huge piles of skulls are common scenery in various areas all throughout the game, seeming to just try to illustrate "this place is dangerous". The Empire also absolutely loves to use skulls in their decor, to the point of having their magical force-field generators look like statues of a zombie carrying a huge stack of skulls on its back.
    • Taken to an extreme in Vitora's Mansion. There are two rooms in the basement called "the morgue" that are filled with so many skulls that you have to walk on them, and you can't even see the floor at all.
    • It gets even more absurd. The "Andora Core" enemy is literally just a giant floating pile of skulls that wants to kill you.

  • Princesses Rule: Raminez, for all intents and purposes, seems to be the leader of Latear, but she's only referred to as being a princess.

  • Scarf Of Asskicking: No matter what armor he's wearing, Kainen's outfit will always include a long, crimson-red scarf.

  • Stronger Than They Look: At first glance, Duke Vitora is just a portly old man. However, he's a powerful alchemist, and his physical abilities and speed are not to be underestimated either.

  • Sword and Gun: Kainen, though swords are his main weapon, while he only uses guns when he uses certain abilities.

  • Tagalong Kid: Evan, in the first half of Kainen's story.

  • The Day the Music Lied: After the battle against Duke Vitora in Kainen's story, the usual cutscene where the hero finishes off the boss with an epic beatdown starts, complete with the usual triumphant music... but then, the Duke simply no sells the whole thing before unleashing a beatdown of his own on Kainen.

  • Time Skip: Around halfway through the game, after Siona's death and Raminez's disappearance, there's a time skip of three years, during which the war heats up. An unspecified number of years also pass during Ray's story while he's a slave to the Empire.

  • Twenty Bear Asses: What many of the optional quests tend to be.

  • Wicked Cultured: The Empire's Duke Vitora lives in a large, finely-furnished mansion, and dresses like an English gentleman, complete with top hat and monocle.

  • Wolf Man: A fair number of NPCs, particularly the travelling merchants, seem to be dog-men. There's also the "barbarian" werewolf tribe of Lorentz.

  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Ray.

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